Klei's Griftlands is back as a card battle RPG, alpha starts this July

Griftlands made its debut at the PC Gaming Show back in 2017, light on detail but heavy on cool sci-fi atmosphere and great 2D character art. And then it vanished, while Klei worked on other projects like Oxygen Not Included. But now it's back, and its fresh appearance at the PC Gaming Show today gave us a lot more to go on. For one thing, you're going to be able to play it in a month, when an alpha kicks off on July 11.

We got to see a couple minutes of Griftlands in a segment from PC Gaming Show sponsor Epic Games. Griftlands' art seems essentially unchanged from two years ago, with flat illustrated characters and a rugged frontier sci-fi look. But we finally have an idea of what kind of game it actually is, as the new trailer above shows off a card combat system, both 1v1 and with parties of characters.

You'll be able to recruit mercenaries to fight by your side, though it's not clear whether you'll have permanent party members, or if you'll be able to give your sidekicks orders. You'll definitely be picking cards for your protagonist, and cards aren't just for fighting. In one encounter in the trailer, you can see skill cards called Fast Talk, Setup and Threaten used for some verbal sparring.

This is the first we've seen of Griftlands since it debuted in 2017, but Klei actually posted on Steam about it back in October, saying "we jumped the gun on announcing it because we thought we were further along than we were. After testing it out in-house, though, we felt that the game just wasn’t delivering the experience we wanted, so we went back to work and have quietly been working on it since."

The alpha launches on the Epic Games Store on July 11. 

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).